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Author Topic: Hawthorne and Arlington  (Read 1949 times)
CLOCKERbiggestal
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« on: March 21, 2006, 08:04:45 AM »

I view the Hawthorne/Arlington the same as I view Meadowlands/Monmouth.

Hawthorne and Meadowlands being mixed use tracks and Monmouth/Arlington being summer destination tracks. Meadowlands his year is running turfers in June to replace turf racing at Monmouth because Monmouth turf won't be ready until July. Meadowlands has a perfectly good turf track that doesn't
see any use during the summer. Hawthorne is the same way a perfectly good turf track lies dormant during the summer while arlington runs. so what about racing in the green at Hawthorne in May
and that would keep the AP turf pristine for the summer of hard use.

 clocker biggestal
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off stride
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« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2006, 08:35:07 AM »

too bad your view is all foggy...

for the simple reason that is when the harness meet is in progress at hawthorne and they are racing there  7 days a week as opposed to the big m which is a dark place (hope i didnt offend you with the dark word) on 3 monday's in june  which is when the turf races are being held, keep your illinois thru breds at arlington, you already have stolen enough dates from the harness people just so your nags have a place to winter as opposed to your farms, so that hawthorne can once again hold its prestigeous winter harness meet... 10 cards in 7 days..full fields .. some of you thru bred people must be in bed with ms. propes and her cronies over at the irb to steal from the harness  dates that made chicago look good, something you illinois bred thru bred owners couldnt do in a hundred years of trying.. now go back to *** about the track bias again...
   screw 
illinois thru breds
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Jim C
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2006, 09:33:32 PM »

hey off stride, you're not just off stride you're off your rocker too! First it was the Maywood boys who took those dates from Hawthorne and it was your very own IHHA who didn't want to run at Hawthorne again when they had the chance to because the rail was not a safety rail and the lights were placed in dangerous spots on the outside of the rail too. Those are the facts that started the trend for no harness racing at Hawthorne in the winter. I wonder what will you guys will do if Hawthorne goes to a polytrack surface too? I have never heard of any harness races on this type surface and I don't think it is the type of surface that can be taken up and put down over and over again because of the drainage system. So you may end up at just Maywood and Balmoral anyway. Face it if T breds are dying then harness is on life support!
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muhammed
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2006, 11:57:02 AM »

Jim C:

You are full of goat shit. The reason the Hawthorne winter meet came to an end was because
the greedy thoroughbred bastards made it impossible to operate afternoon harness racing because
of the 6:30 to 6:30 breakdown in simulcast revenue. While the harness folks but on a wonderful
show on those afternoons in January and February, they deserved to earn every penny they were
able to on those afternoons. However, when simulcasting became legal in Illinois, it ended afternoon
harness racing as we knew it and now the thoroughbreds make all the money off afternoon simulcasting
in January and February while sitting on their fat asses. Allah will punish all those who act unjustly.
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BeauNarro
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2006, 12:28:06 PM »

HUH?? Here is what happened. In 1998 Arlington decided not to race because Dick D. wanted slots and didn't get them. Arlington said that they would go bankrupt if they had to race and compete against the riverboats.
At the same time, Sportsman's closed for 2 years to build the Chicago Motor Speedway. The Illinois Racing Board asked Hawthorne NOT to apply for harness dates to help keep Thoroughbred racing alive in Illinois, and gave Hawthorne year round dates. For the next 18 months Hawthorne was only dark for a total of 3 months. In 2000 Arlington again asked for dates and got them.
Sportsmans asked for dates and got them.
Hawthorne got their thoroughbred dates, but were refused the harness dates Jan. 1 to Feb 15th. The racing board told them that they had given the dates up, but in fact it was because the IRB ASKED Hawthorne to give them up to help keep thoroughbred racing alive in Illinois. That's typical Illinois politics at it's finest!
Then the next year(2001-2002) is when the Fontenau(sic) rail and track lighting issue came into the picture as another political ploy to keep harness racing out of Hawthorne. This was a joint alliance with the IHHA and the Johnson family.
Hawthorne installed a new state of the art track lighting system at a cost of $2,000,000.00+, and removed the Fontenau(sic) rail - replacing it with the current system that I engineered, and Tim Beckers crew installed. It still took 1 more year before the IRB gave the harness dates back to Hawthorne, but instead of the old winter dates - they gave them summer night dates.
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off stride
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2006, 12:34:53 PM »

thanks beaunarro. you helped explain the mess
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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2006, 12:48:18 PM »

Jim C:

You are full of goat shit. The reason the Hawthorne winter meet came to an end was because the greedy thoroughbred bastards made it impossible to operate afternoon harness racing because of the 6:30 to 6:30 breakdown in simulcast revenue. While the harness folks but on a wonderful show on those afternoons in January and February, they deserved to earn every penny they were able to on those afternoons. However, when simulcasting became legal in Illinois, it ended afternoon harness racing as we knew it and now the thoroughbreds make all the money off afternoon simulcasting in January and February while sitting on their fat asses. Allah will punish all those who act unjustly.


The 6:30 to 6:30 rule was an extension of the OTB rules, and was originally the harness industry's idea to protect their turf, not the thoroughbred industry idea. Otherwise it opens up night racing to thoroughbreds.

Hawthorne ran at least one successful doubleheader winter meet after the simulcast rules came into effect, if not two. Winter of 1995-1996 and winter of 1996-1997? The simulcast law was different then. Hawthorne got to keep a large part of the winter daytime simulcast money. The "simulcast host" part of the law came along in the 1999 law that got Arlington into business?

The simulcast law wasn't the reason harness left Hawthorne and Cicero in general, it was the mess made when Arlington closed after its 1997 meet, followed by Sportsman's in Fall of 1998. I don't think Hawthorne wanted to give up that harness meet, but that's how it worked out as the only thoroughbred track in town, running from February through December of 1999.

When Arlington came back in business, the harness horsemen didn't want to run at Hawthorne in the summer, and stabbed the Careys in the back publicly at the IRB dates meeting over the hub rail and lights issues like Jim C. said, as well as the continuity of stakes schedule at Balmoral. Management from Balmoral and maywood was also there, badmouthing the hub rail and saying how great harness racing had become since they were the only games in town. I was at that meeting and remember it well. The head of the IHHA Tony Morgan sat there and told the IRB they didn't want to run at Hawthorne.

Harness racing has enough troubles of its own without blaming the thoroughbred industry, starting with the fact that harness racing nationally barely outhandles dog racing. That has nothing to do with Illinois thoroughbred racing, harness racing is in deep trouble everywhere unless it it is propped up by slots money. It isn't popular with bettors. It doesn't make much money. How lucrative can it be if Sportsman's gladly gave up their summer harness meet to build a car track? They brought back thoroughbred racing but not harness. What does that tell you? Harness guys always seem to have something or someone to blame for their troubles, never looking at themsleves.

Why do we always end up talking about harness racing on this forum?
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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2006, 12:51:34 PM »

It still took 1 more year before the IRB gave the harness dates back to Hawthorne, but instead of the old winter dates - they gave them summer night dates.

By then there wasn't really a question of winter dates at Hawthorne, because Sportsman's had moved its backside to Hawthorne's backside with the new barns, and it became Sportsman's backside to prepare for their thoroughbred meet. Correct?
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BeauNarro
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2006, 01:37:54 PM »

Terry,

Yes and No. Hawthorne could have still had their winter harness meet. Back at that time Bob Carey was trying to negotiate with Arlington for the T-breds to be stabled there, but Arlington wanted to charge (as I remember) a hefty gross amount for the horses to be stabled there, and to be able to use the track for training and work-outs. The Careys tried to appeal to the IRB to step in, but to no avail. The t-bred horsemen certainly didn't want to pay the added expense, and the Carey/Bidwell fronts didn't either unless Dick D. would have lowered the amount by a few hundred thousand..which he didn't. So therefore the winter t-breds ended staying at Hawthorne.
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Thomas Graham
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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2006, 01:46:24 PM »

Stable and train at Arlington in the winter?  Have you seem the barns there? Except for a few near the train station, they are all open air barns and the track surface there is suitable for summer racing.  So HAW wanted AP to open WINTERIZE and open THEIR barn area in order to benefit HAW/SPT.  Gee, can't understand why AP didn't go for that deal.  BEau, you've ID'd yourself as an ex-HAW employee but even you can see that regardless of you or others feel about AP, that would be about the dumbest business decision AP cold have ever made.
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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2006, 01:47:24 PM »

Terry,

Yes and No. Hawthorne could have still had their winter harness meet. Back at that time Bob Carey was trying to negotiate with Arlington for the T-breds to be stabled there, but Arlington wanted to charge (as I remember) a hefty gross amount for the horses to be stabled there, and to be able to use the track for training and work-outs. The Careys tried to appeal to the IRB to step in, but to no avail. The t-bred horsemen certainly didn't want to pay the added expense, and the Carey/Bidwell fronts didn't either unless Dick D. would have lowered the amount by a few hundred thousand..which he didn't. So therefore the winter t-breds ended staying at Hawthorne.

Thanks. That also might explain why Hawthorne seemed a little less than enthusiastic about keeping its barn area open, at a reasonable price, for "overflow" in summers during the Arlington meets later on?
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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2006, 01:49:24 PM »

Stable and train at Arlington in the winter?  Have you seem the barns there? Except for a few near the train station, they are all open air barns and the track surface there is suitable for summer racing.  So HAW wanted AP to open WINTERIZE and open THEIR barn area in order to benefit HAW/SPT.  Gee, can't understand why AP didn't go for that deal.  BEau, you've ID'd yourself as an ex-HAW employee but even you can see that regardless of you or others feel about AP, that would be about the dumbest business decision AP cold have ever made.

But not impossible, as Arlington was in there at the IRB pitching for a winter harness meet one of those 1990's years. I remember we yukked it up over that one on the derby list.
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BeauNarro
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« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2006, 01:51:49 PM »

Thomas Graham,

I have nothing against Arlington, even though I am an ex-Hawthorne employee. I now am an owner/breeder. I want the Illionois t-bred industry to survive in a BIG way.

I do agree with you that it wasn't in Arlington's best interest. I never said contrary to that. I was just stating the facts..
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Thomas Graham
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« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2006, 01:55:11 PM »

Good point, Terry.  Though I recall AP management later admitting that they really applied for those dates to expose the ridiculousness of the 6:30-6:30 rule and then pulled the request from consideration before it was even deliberated.

From what I can figure, it must be quite expensive to keep a barn area open and a track maintained during down time.  Beau, you could probably shed some light on that.

It would make a certain amount of sense for SPT (and now HAW) to keep the barns open in the winter to have some semblance of a horse populatuion ready to run once they open, but it can't make much sense for AP to be open in the winter to benefot HAW's meet and for HAW to be open all summer to benefit AP without some sort of financial assitance from the other.
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Thomas Graham
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« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2006, 01:57:07 PM »

Beau, I neveer meant to imply you had an axe to grind against AP, just that as an ex-HAW employee, you'd have more information about the HAW side of the negoiations than the AP side.  I have neither, just strong opinions from 60+ years of watching the game and the players.
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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2006, 02:00:37 PM »

It would make a certain amount of sense for SPT (and now HAW) to keep the barns open in the winter to have some semblance of a horse populatuion ready to run once they open, but it can't make much sense for AP to be open in the winter to benefot HAW's meet and for HAW to be open all summer to benefit AP without some sort of financial assitance from the other.

No doubt. It made no sense at all for Arlington to do that if it cost them even one dime. Wintering thoroughbreds there would have been strictly to benefit Hawthorne and harness racing. You are correct, it would have cost a pretty penny to winterize the backside and track, too.  
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« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2006, 02:06:52 PM »

Believe it or not..when Hawthorne used to be dark from February 16th thru October 14th(every year for many years), they never laid off any of the barn maintenance or track crews. They worked year round, so for Hawthorne there wasn't an additional expense except for all the overtime the workers put in during live racing - which is ALOT.

For Arlington I can't say, but they would probably need a combined crew of at least 25 workers plus 3 supervisors to maintain the partial barns and track, also more security. I seem to remember back then that Hawthorne was willing to let Arlington use Hawthorne, but Arlington wanted an additional $500,000 for Sportsmans/Hawthorne to be able to use Arlington.
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Thomas Graham
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« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2006, 02:22:24 PM »

While I appluad the Careys for keeping all the help on all summer when there wasn't much going on, to be fair from Feb-May they needed the crew since the barn area and the track were being used for the SPT meet next door, and they'd need them back by end of AUgust to get the barns and track ready for the Fall meet, so we really are talking about 3 months, not eight.  AGain, most owners would probably still lay everyone off for even the three months so they are to be commennded for that.
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muhammed
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« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2006, 04:27:22 PM »

The bottom line is that the reason Hawthorne will not and cannot race
a harness meet in January and February is because of the way simulcasting is now laid out.
It would be an economic disaster with all of the simulcasting revenue going to the
thoroughbreds. The simulcasting law is actually written to pretty much exclude any type
of harness racing in the afternoons in January and through the third week of February.
Of course, the Arlington refusal to operate and the Sportsman's clusterfux added to the
problem, but the winter harness meet at Hawthorne was destroyed through legislation.
May Allah crush all who continue their unjust ways!
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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2006, 04:47:07 PM »

The bottom line is that the reason Hawthorne will not and cannot race
a harness meet in January and February is because of the way simulcasting is now laid out. It would be an economic disaster with all of the simulcasting revenue going to the thoroughbreds. The simulcasting law is actually written to pretty much exclude any type of harness racing in the afternoons in January and through the third week of February.

So it's gone, for whatever reason. Fondly remembered by some, not missed at all by others, adieu. Time to move on.

Harness and thoroughbred racing in this state would be a lot better off if people started spending their mental energy thinking about ways to entice more bettors, locally and nationally, to bet on Illinois races as opposed to other signals. If people bet your local races the simulcast situation is secondary.

Continually looking back to the past, and fighting about who did what, and who was at fault 10 years ago or 7 years ago, and pointing fingers to assign blame for what happened in 1988, doesn't do a thing to make racing any better TODAY OR TOMORROW. I'm guilty of it sometimes myself, but what's past is past. OTB's are here to stay, simulcasting is here to stay, account wagering is here to stay, riverboats are here to say, the simulcast laws are what they are, and are unlikely to change for the unilateral benefit of anyone - now what?
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BeauNarro
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« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2006, 05:40:31 PM »

Good points Terry regarding re-hashing the past..so..I guess there's not much to talk about anymore.

How's the weather today?
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Jim C
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« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2006, 06:47:46 PM »

here is a guy looking towards the future....fresh from Crains

Arlington's Horse Whisperer
 
 
(Crain's) - Horse racing is in Kevin Greely's blood.

"My great-grandfather trained horses, my grandfather trained horses and my father was a racing executive," Mr. Greely said. "I couldn't imagine doing anything else."

As a teen, he spent summers doing maintenance work at the Keeneland Association racetrack in Lexington, Ky. and foaling mares and tackling farm labor at the Taylor Made Farm in Nicholasville, Ky.

Now, Mr. Greely, 41, is Arlington Park's latest executive vice president of racing and racing secretary, an integral, and sometimes stressful, role at any racetrack.

"They are in charge of creating the most competitive races which in turn draw the best horseman and horses to the track," said Eric Wing, a spokesman for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. "They manage the stakes schedule so the track can draw good fields and boost the track's prestige."

And good fields and prestige draw spectators and bettors — and revenue for Arlington. Though it has fared better than some tracks in the state, horse racing has endured difficult times of late given the increasing venues vying for gamblers’ dollars.

According to parent Churchill Downs Inc., revenue at Arlington fell 5% in 2005 while operating profit plunged 62%. Arlington said total attendance during last year’s racing season, which ran from May to September, fell 1.6% but average daily attendance rose for the fourth consecutive year.

Nevertheless, the amount wagered at the Arlington Heights facility was down last year resulting in smaller purses.

A racing secretary's foremost job is planning races, setting handicap levels and determining purse amounts. At Arlington Park, where the racing season starts on May 5, that means coordinating nine races each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 10 races on Saturday and 10 on Sunday.

Mr. Greely starts by reviewing what is essentially the resumes of roughly 3,000 horses and invites 2,100 to Arlington Park. Some stay for the entire racing season. Others may come to the track just for a marquee race. Mr. Greely will jockey with racing secretaries around the country each trying to get the best horses to create a compelling race card.

Once the stalls are filled, he will begin to create races that will grab the attention of bettors, trainers and horse owners.

In the hoped–for virtuous cycle, more enthusiasm for a slate of races means better attendance at the track — and viewers at offsite betting houses. That would hopefully lead to more wagering, boosting the size of the purse and attracting talented horse which, in turn, raise the prestige of the track and attract more spectators.

"We have to put together high-quality races to make it more attractive to bettors," Mr. Greely said.

He starts by ordering the Arlington Million, the track's signature race made famous in 1981 when it became the first to offer a $1 million purse.

Mr. Greely will decide if a race should be all fillies or colts. Whether it will be run on dirt or grass. Whether it will be a one-mile run or three-quarters of a mile.

And he will determine handicap ratings for each horse.

"Say in a field of 10 horses, the winner won by two lengths," Mr. Greely explained. "He's about two pounds better than the second-place horse. We would make him carry more weight to make him more competitive. The more weight that on [a horse's back], the shorter the stride."

As racing secretary for Arlington Park, Mr. Greely returns to the track after a 20-year absence while he worked in Kentucky, New Orleans and Dubai. He worked for the Arlington Heights track from 1984 to 1986 as an assistant racing secretary, a placing judge, a patrol judge and a claims clerk.

In 1994, Mr. Greely left the country to work for the United Emirates Racing Association. During his overseas tenure, he organized racing programs for five courses and the Dubai World Cup, the world's richest thoroughbred race with a $6 million purse.

And when he's not planning the race, he likes to watch the ponies run, but only if it's a nail-bitter.

"I like to see an eight-horse field and nice close finishes," Mr. Greely said.

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